Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Langkawi Day 2.1

One of the must-dos at Langkawi is the Mangrove Tour. This was at the top of my list. Which was one of the few reasons we extended our stay to 3D2N. No matter what, we just had to set aside 5 hours for this fun and simple tour. Being close to nature and forgetting about your handphone for that 5 hour trip. It was worth it.

Just after breakfast at 9am, we waited for our pick up at the hotel lobby. By 9.30am we were at the Tanjung Rhu jetty waiting for our tour guide and his skipper. So far so good, I thought. We boarded the speedboat and were given a briefing about safety and what to expect from the tour. I have to say the tour guide made all the difference. I did not expect such a knowledgeable and professional tour guide. Afterall, we only paid about 2/3 the price of more "reputable" and "professional" tours. Yes, the tour was indeed better than I had expected.

We were joined by 2 English couples, a German couple and a Singaporean lady. Feels weird being the only Malaysians there. How is it that foreigners are more interested and knowledgeable about the environment and places in Malaysia than we Malaysians? I do feel a bit embarrassed.

The tour began with a ride around the mangrove forest. I do enjoy the wind against my face. Several stops were made so that our tour guide could educate us about the mangrove forest as well as show us some animals which inhabit the forest. We saw a few monitor lizards, a Dollarbird (if I remember correctly) and a pack of monkeys. Beware if you brought food along. These monkeys can swim and they'd come after your food!

We then headed to the site where eagle feeding was done. The tour did not include eagle feeding but other tour operators do include that where they throw bits of chicken into the river. It was a magnificent sight as eagles came swooping down. The most common species is the Brahminy Kite. We also spotted a White-bellied Sea Eagle perched on top of a tree unperturbed by all the fuss. The photo below does not do justice to the experience of being there. You just have to see it for yourself.

Our next stop was the fish farm, Hole In The Wall. This is actually a restaurant with a little fish farm that caters for tourists. Normally, fish farms would breed only a few types of fish. A young boy named Man took us around and showed us different types of fish. Unfortunately, his English was pretty limited to the names of the fish, weight of the fish, "huge fish", "you can feed it, no problem"... -.-||| For those adventurous enough, you can try feeding the stingray. Nope, not me :P

After that, we were taken to the Bat Cave where yes, we saw bats. Lots of bats and of course lots of guano. Not a good idea to look above and be amazed with your mouth wide open if you know what I mean. Rainy season was approaching and this was when bats start to give birth. There were many baby bats and we even saw a bat that had just given birth. Missed the first few minutes of it according to the tour guide.

Finally, we were taken on a ride out to the Andaman Sea (hoping to see dolphins but alas! only saw an anchovies trawler). There was also a stop at the beach for swimming but all of us agreed to skip that as we were really hungry. The tour ended with lunch at a floating restaurant near the Tanjung Rhu jetty. I really miss the speedboat ride. Next time, I'd like to go on the island hopping tour and maybe snorkelling once I've learned how to swim that is.

Oh and this was the ghost crab the skipper caught while we stopped at the beach briefly. I mean real briefly. We didn't even get down from the boat! He certainly has quick hands.

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